Everything sublime is as difficult as it is rare. Baruch Spinoza

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Poem

      Elinor Wylie

      The Lost Path

        THE garden's full of scented wallflowers,
        And, save that these stir faintly, nothing stirs;
        Only a distant bell in hollow chime
        Cried out just now for far-forgoten time,
        And three reverberate words the great bell spoke.
        The knocker's made of brass, the door of oak,
        And such a clamor must be loosed on air
        By the knocker's blow that knock I do not dare.
        The silence is a spell, and if it break,
        What things, that now lie sleeping, will awake?
        Are simple creatures lying there in cool
        Sweet linen sheets, in slumber like the pool
        Of moonlight white as water on the floor?
        Will they come down laughing and unlock the door?
        And will they draw me in, and let me sit
        On the tall settle while the lamp is lit?
        And shall I see their innocent clean lives
        Shining as plainly as the plates and knives,
        The blue bowls, and the brass cage with its bird?
        But listen! listen! surely something stirred
        Within the house, and creeping down the halls
        Draws close to me with sinister footfalls.
        Will long pale fingers softly lift the latch,
        And lead me up, under the osier thatch,
        To a little room, a little secret room,
        Hung with green arras picturing the doom,
        The most disasterous death of some proud knight?
        And shall I search the room by candle-light
        And see, behind the curtains of my bed,
        A murdered man who sleeps as sleep the dead?
        Or will my clamorous knocking shake the trees
        With lonely thunder through the stillnesses,
        And then lie down--the coldest fear of all--
        To nothing, and deliberate silence fall
        On the house deep in the silence, and no one come
        To door or window, staring blind and dumb?

11 comments:

  1. A beautiful poem. I often sat out on the doorstep at night when young and wondered some of these same thoughts...when I missed my curfew!

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  2. Oh Sandra! This is my sort of poem! Whimsical, fey, beautiful use of language. Does she always write like that? I must find some more of her stuff. Thank you! ☺

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  3. Alicia, you make me laugh!

    Ganeida, I thought you would like this. She is in the style of the British Romantics, although American. She was interested in the aesthetic of the language and the imagery.

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  4. Oh, and she didn't kill herself!

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  5. Thanks for telling us she did not do herself in . . . now tell me why you often choose this type of beautifully written, yet depressive poem? Not a criticism - I just like you a lot and being who I am get concerned . . . and I have been known to read more into what is there. Feel free to bounce me off your horse! :)

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  6. Bonnie: Now I wonder how I appear to people who don't know me. Interesting. It is rather humbling to have someone express concern for me.

    I didn't find this poem depressive and she is not one of the neurotic poets. I like the use of language and I think there is a certain wit to this poem. That said, I do like to read some of the neurotic poets. There is a sad beauty to their words. I enjoy the language, as well as the emotion. The fact that so many of them offed themselves, either by obvious intent or by slow design, is a lousy waste of life and talent. And a result of deep problems. But the work says something.

    I wouldn't try to analyze me. Like most people I'm as deep as a well and as shallow as a puddle.

    I would never bounce you off one of my horses. : )

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  7. lol Depressive, suicidal poets are oten the best but one would not want to be one! I like Plath but I think she was as mad as a hatter. It's all about the [language] as my Ditz would say. [Well, she says music but the sentiment remains the same] You strike me as being remarkably sane, Sandra! :P

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  8. I don't dislike this but I am finding it hard to read. Maybe I need to come back and read it after a good nights sleep.

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  9. Sandra: Not analyzing, just caring and choosing to express it rather than stuff it. Thanks for clarifying - I, too, get seduced by beautiful words and sad ones do have a special allure that we can all relate to. Thanks for being patient with me - I can be pesky.
    :)

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  10. It's been a long time since I read and enjoyed poetry. I am glad you are sharing with us, Sandra. I'm finding them both inspiring and relative.

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I really appreciate the concept and sentiment behind awards, but I cannot participate in them anymore. I have too may and I have not got the time to devote to participating properly. To all who have honored me, I am grateful but I don't have seven more things to tell anyone about myself! And I'm a terrible passer-oner.